Writing a Book Proposal

Last week, I told you about the horrible query letter that I sent my agent Rachelle. By the grace of God, Rachelle didn’t send my email straight to her delete file.

Instead, Rachelle’s response (dated two weeks later) was:

Dear Erin,

Thank you so much for submitting your query for our review. If you’re still seeking representation, I love to discuss it.

I’ve attached our proposal template. If you could translate your proposal and sample chapters into this document, it would be helpful to me.

There are no guarantees, but I could get this into the hands of the right editors and see if there’s interest out there in Christian publishing. Let me know if you’re interested in discussing.

Thanks!

Many blessings,
Rachelle

Of COURSE I was interested in discussing. (Who wouldn’t be?!) I emailed Rachelle right away and let her know that I was interested and that I’d start working on the book proposal right away.

At that point in my life, I had no idea what a book proposal was. (Did I mention that I was naïve?!) But with the possibility of representation dangling in front of me, I suddenly became a student on proposal writing. I read Rachelle’s post on writing a good proposal (found here, if you’re interested) along with about fifty others I found online. I also researched proposal writing on www.writersdigest.com and went to the library and checked out the book “Write the Perfect Book Proposal“. I spent several weeks studying before I started working on my proposal.

What did I learn?

A good book proposal is more about the marketability of the book than the actual words in the book. I could be the most amazing writer ever, but without a solid marketing platform and an idea that stood out amongst thousands, my book would never sell.

So, what did I do?

1. I spent a lot of time thinking about my marketing platform. What groups am I a part of that could help me in marketing my book? Could I start a blog? Did I want to create a Twitter account or a Facebook fan page?
2. I spent a lot of time researching similar books. I studied the ones that did well and tried to figure out why they did so well. I looked at the ones that I’d never heard of and tried to figure out the reasons for that as well.
3. I went to hundreds of author blogs and looked at how they marketed their books.
4. I brainstormed ways that I could make my book stand out as different from the others on the market. My book is about a popular topic—pregnancy. The market is pretty much saturated. There are a million pregnancy books out there…from the short and funny (Vicki Iovine) to the informative (What to Expect). But there is nothing that’s funny, easy-to-read and focused on pregnant Christian moms.
5. Once I found my niche, I made sure everything in my proposal pointed in that direction. I wasn’t trying to appeal to every pregnant mom or every Christian mom, but to every newly pregnant Christian mom. And, with that in mind, I wrote my proposal with that audience in mind.

Next week: Enduring the wait

17 Comments

  1. Now this looks like a great site! Let's become bloggites!
    I will say that you seem to have a lot of energy on me, but I have a few years on you.
    Maybe God will strike a balancE!

    Blessings,
    Patti
    http://www.pattilacy.com/blog

    Reply
  2. Congratulations on the opportunities!

    The most important thing I'm coming to understand is that writing is a process and books evolve out of that process. Giving myself time to evolve. . .

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  3. This is really good advice. I've written proposals but I'm not sure I focused as well as you have on who my stories will reach. Thank you for the tips! Now I'm gonna look around your site and see if you sold that pregnancy book yet. *grin*
    Thanks for stopping by my place!

    Reply
  4. Wooohoo! You did sell it! Congrats. :) btw, I have NEVER liked being pregnant. My sister loves it but for me it was always uncomfortable and even painful. Love my babies, wish I didn't have to be pregnant to have them. LOL
    Congrats again!

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  5. Oh wow, great news. Good luck for the future.

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  6. What exciting news. Fingers crossed . . . : )

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  7. Hi Erin! Your blog is gorgeous! Thanks for finding mine so I could follow you back here. Huge congrats on the upcoming release of your first book. And you're represented by one of the highest profile agents in the industry — how awesome! I wish you the best of luck with this and all your projects.

    I look forward to reading lots more from you!

    Reply
  8. Sounds like a dream story of representation. I'm glad it's all working out for you. I look forward to your book!

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  9. Funny how you cringe at the query, but obviously it was effective! I cringe at not even knowing the term "Black Moment" when I started writing fiction. Talk about having a lot to learn!

    Your point about the book's marketability is very true. Publishers are in business to make money, and we need to remember that.

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  10. Good for you! This is big, very big. I'm so happy for you!
    Jen

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  11. Wow! Congrats! And way to go on the research. You make an excellent point. It's all about publishing a book that readers want to read and will buy.

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  12. Perused your blog and LOVE the concept of your book! I've started a very rough draft of a proposal for my novel, but I've set it aside to get the manuscript sparkling clean first. :-)

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  13. Linked here from Terri's blog. Liked your answer to her question.

    Thanks for the tips on the book proposal. I like your perspective that it is as much about marketablility as content. That will be helpful to remember!

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  14. Hi Erin! Thanks so much for stopping by my blog and commenting! I am so excited that you are excited about the Growth Points free Bible study publication! I hope it will be a blessing.

    Have a wonderful evening!
    Karen

    Reply
  15. All the very best. I hope good things come from all of that hard work.

    Thank you for finding my blog :)

    Reply
  16. Yay for you! I think it was harder for me to write my proposal than it was for me to write my book, but it sounds like you're well on your way.

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  17. This is great Erin! Love the new blog and about your writing the book!

    Reply

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